March 30, 2006
This is a bit weird. Borders and Waldenbooks won't carry the next issue of Free Inquiry because it reprints the Danish cartoons -- the safety of their customers is important, claims the press release, and they fear violence. But we've had this situation before: Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses sparked similar amounts of violence and outrage, but neither he, nor any establishments bearing his work, ended up facing reprisal. Seems to me that no one would have ever notice Free Inquiry's reprint if Borders hadn't mentioned it, but now, they just gave free publicity to the magazine and made themselves seem like cowards. Not the best strategy I've ever seen.
March 30, 2006 | Permalink
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I agree with you that Borders' decision is somewhat ill-informed, but to say that nobody faced reprisal for carrying The Satanic Verses is false. From the www.answer.com entry on Salman Rushdie and the controversy over his book (sorry my html sucks so don't have direct link):
"Meanwhile, further violence occurred around the world, with the firebombing of bookstores at the University of California at Berkeley which stocked the novel, and the offices of The Riverdale Press, a weekly newspaper in The Bronx, in response to an editorial which defended the right to read the book. On February 24, five people were shot and killed by the police during a protest outside the British consulate in Bombay. Several other people died in Egypt and elsewhere. Muslim communities throughout the world held public rallies in which copies of the book were burned. In 1991, Rushdie's Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, was stabbed and killed at the university where he taught in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, north of Tokyo, and his Italian translator was beaten and stabbed in Milan. In 1993, Rushdie's Norwegian publisher William Nygaard was shot and severely injured in an attack outside his house in Oslo. Thirty-seven people died when their hotel in Sivas, Turkey was burnt down by locals protesting against Aziz Nesin, Rushdie's Turkish translator."
Rushdie of course has survived, but not everyone else associated with the book did. Again, don't want to defend Borders but just thought I'd set the record straight a little bit.
Posted by: Matt | Mar 30, 2006 8:40:50 PM
Always shop Barnes and Noble--100% of their campaign donations go to Democratic candidates, and they're not pantywaists when it comes to the First Amendment.
Posted by: Jimmm | Mar 31, 2006 9:02:21 AM
Er, precisely what violence was sparked by these cartoons on U.S. soil? 'Cause I don't remember any.
Posted by: Adrock | Mar 31, 2006 12:31:47 PM
Posted by: peterwei | Oct 21, 2007 11:55:20 PM
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